2014 for me
The start of 2014 was pretty decent: I had an extra couple of weeks off work; I was excited that I would be finished with post grad study by the middle of the year after what felt like forever; and finally, after months of looking, found the most adorable apartment to move into. 2014 was off to a great start! But that lovely feeling didn’t last long. Without going into too much detail, it started with a family member’s illness that threw us all a curve ball. Living away from home at a time like this only made things seem much worse and I was intensely feeling the distance from home – all 700kms of it. So I traveled back and forth every chance I got. It was certainly a challenging time for all of us as we’d never been through anything like this before.
I had also previously decided that I would double my post grad study load in early 2014 which would allow me to finish six months early. Between work, study and travel, time seemed to come at a premium price. While it was important for me to be at home and have access to all my study material, all I wanted was to be with my family – the distance was torture. But I (we all) pulled through it and slowly things seemed to settled down. I could finally breathe easy. Or so I thought.
Just as things started to ease at home, work turned out to be next hurdle I had to get over. After too much unnecessary back and forth I was finally doing the kind of work that I needed to be doing. With everything taking place one after the other I simply couldn’t get away for a break. All I could manage was a trip to Bali for a week – which was lovely, if too short.
Thankfully, I had a great support network that helped me get through it all. Hugs when I needed it most, people to chat to when I felt down and great friends to lean on. Looking back it all seems like first world problems but at the time it was all very overwhelming and I’m glad most of it is over.
Australia in 2014
On 1 January, Australia’s newly elected Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, welcomed 2014 as the year of optimism. Fast forward 12 months and the general sentiment in the country surely isn’t optimism, largely due to the PM himself who’s been dubbed ‘one term Tony’.
A year that saw the best and worst of us all has felt more than just a little bit draining. There was bad followed by good followed by bad. More young Australians continued to leave Australia to fight with terrorist organisations in the Middle East only for some to discover they too obese to take up the fight. Two hostages died in a chocolate shop in Sydney; the tragedy remembered by a growing sea of flowers in Martin Place. Australia had (and continues to have) a fabulous year of cricket, but it also endured the untimely death of 25 year old Phillip Hughes on the field.
More homes were destroyed in bush fires and at the same time the Australian government abolished the carbon tax then begrudgingly contributed the the international climate fund. It was later revealed that the funding came from cuts to foreign aid!
A snake ate a crocodile and the NT News front page provided some daily relief from the mundane.
In what can only be described as a spectacular fall from grace, Tony and crew hit the lowest of low in the polls in 2014. Their failure to sell the budget to the public would have been funny had it not been real life. And apparently Australians as a society had little interest in being bigots after all. While world leaders discussed climate change and gay rights at the G20 held in Brisbane, Tony whinged about Australian’s lack of support for a GP co-payment. Never mind it was an unfair and poorly thought out policy that the Australian Medical Association didn’t support. And who can forget the shirt-fronting saga that came to nothing. Christopher Pyne continued to make my skin crawl every time he made a TV appearance.
Not so funny were the funding cuts to science, climate change bodies and Australia’s only two independent television channels, ABC and SBS, who continued to hold politicians to account thereby making them easy targets. Added to this was Team Australia, rising youth unemployment, rising unemployment, the collapse of manufacturing, and the plight of asylum seekers coming to Australia (thank you, Scott Morrisson!!). How shameful is it when asylum seekers come to Australia seeking protection only for detained in inhumane conditions, with two losing their lives under our own government’s watch – one in riots and the other to an infection! An infection!!
Around the globe in 2014
In 2014, Ebola killed some 7,000 people across West Africa. What was initially thought of as an outbreak quickly turned into an epidemic. Funding dwindled as the numbers of infected steadily rose. Thankfully, this was eventually reversed.
2014 will also be remembered as a disastrous year for air travel with a total of 986 lives lost to commercial aircraft fatalities. The loss of Air Asia QZ8501 will be the seventh major airline crash this year, something that I’m finding difficult to digest. However, I still believe flying remains one of the safest modes of transport we have today.
We also said goodbye to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Laurne Bacall, Joe Cocker (that voice!), Oscar de la Renta, Joan Rivers and Robin Williams.
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world – Robin Williams
Boko Haram kidnapped 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria; ISIS made a name for themselves by inflicting unimaginable terror on human kind as they claimed territory across Syria and Iraq, and continued to attract supporters from across the globe to their delusional cause; and the Pakistan Taliban killed over 140 people, mostly children aged between two and 14, when it stormed an army school in Peshawar and opened fire on the students and teachers.
Protests in Keiv turned into a war that is still ongoing; the Gaza conflict resulted in the death of 2,200 people, most of them Palestinians; and the US race riots resulting from deaths of African Americans at the hands of the law.
Climate change continued to wreck havoc across the globe, no more than in the United States where a cold snap saw temperatures plummet to as low as minus 17. Mother Nature’s fury was felt in other ways with mudslides killing people in the US and Afghanistan, and flooding in India and Pakistan causing devastation to many.
But it was not all doom and gloom in 2014
While 2014 proved to be a difficult year for me (and many), I was sill able to tick a few things off my list. Despite the challenges, I finished my post grad study with wonderful grades that I am proud of. I enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, establishing this blog. I’ve learned so much in the process and I love how I’ve just thrown myself into it. I had a grand ol’ holiday with the family in Bali and am looking forward to next one. And I consumed more than my fair share of good food and coffee!
And it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Australia, either. After witnessing the murder of her son by his father, Rosie Batty brought renewed vigour to the national conversation on domestic violence and was rightfully named the Victorian Australian of the Year; Julian Blac, douchebag of the year, got the boot from Australia (followed by other countries) thanks to good ol’ girl power; and a public school in Sydney’s inner west quietly closed the attendance gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students (BIG SMILE).
Across the globe there were reasons to smile: Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; more Americans can now afford health care; a space probe landed on a comet; India joined the space race and did it cheaply; Gravity was a big winner at the Oscars (hilarious); same-sex marriage was legalised in even more states and countries, bringing the the total number of countries to legalise same sex marriage to sixteen (think it’s time for Australia to join the ranks!); and TIME magazine chose the Ebola fighters as the Person of the Year for their sacrifices and heroic efforts in the fight against the disease.
So here’s hoping that 2015 will be brighter for everyone! I, for one, am looking forward to more travel and new experiences in 2015!
What did you think of 2014 and what are you hoping for in 2015?